Vitamin B may cut risk of stroke

Are you getting enough vitamin B in your diet?

A study from China suggests taking vitamin B supplements may help reduce the risk of stroke in some people.

"Eating it is always the best," said Julia Zumpano, a registered dietitian at Cleveland Clinic. "But a supplement is not a bad idea as a backup or a buffer to make sure you're getting everything in."

University of Zhengzou researchers analyzed 14 studies on vitamin B supplements involving nearly 55,000 people.

They found vitamin 'B' supplements lowered the risk of stroke by 7 percent overall, but did not appear to affect the severity of strokes, or the risk of death from stroke.

The researchers also found folic acid, often found in fortified cereals, appears to reduce the effect of vitamin B, but say more studies are needed to confirm.

Researchers say any number of factors can alter the effectiveness of vitamin B supplements, so they recommend talking to your doctor before taking supplements.

Zumpano said it is best to try to get all of the B vitamins you need from foods like fish, poultry, red meat, low-fat dairy products, leafy greens and peas.

Complete findings for this study are available online in the journal "Neurology."

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